Being relatively new to trail running we wanted to test a shoe that strikes a good balance between comfort, support, and trail feel.
The Merrell All Out Charge seems to fit the bill well with its low 6mm drop putting it in the ‘transitional’ category of trail running shoes i.e. between a barefoot shoe which usually has zero drop and a more traditional running shoe with a high heel stack height.
The low drop supposedly encourages a natural step where the mid foot or forefoot strikes the ground first as opposed to the heel. We couldn’t comment on the science behind this but running in these shoes is most definitely a comfortable experience.
At 283g per shoe the All Out Charge don’t feel heavy or cumbersome. If you want ultralight then take a look at some of the more minimalist barefoot inspired shoes in Merrell’s range.
When you first slip the Merrells on you could be forgiven for thinking that they may be too small or narrow, but it only takes a few seconds to realise that the fit is actually very supportive and provides a natural and low profile feel. This is helped by the HyperWrap system which distributes an evenly spread tightening across the foot when you pull the laces.
On the trail the Uni-Fly midsole provides a soft landing, disperses impact and allows for a stable takeoff. On the sole the lugs are fairly aggressive and should allow you to cope with winter running on unstable ground.
The upper material provides a decent amount of breathability which is great in the current warm weather and should allow for quicker drying. They’ll need it too, as the downside is that the All Out Charge don’t look like they’ll stave off the ingress of water for too long.
We found the trail feel to be just right on reasonably rough ground, striking a balance between a connectedness with the lumps and bumps of natural terrain and a suitable amount of protection against the repetitive impact of running.